1. Pretty Lies
The constant thumping of the stereo dulled and everyone’s attention was drawn to the DJ booth, Nate tapped the mic with his hand twice before flashing a smile, Jade, my best friend, stood next to him; her arm wrapped around his torso.
“Alright, alright, I just wanted to make a toast to our guests of honor.” his deep voice loud and clear. An arm wrapped around my shoulders and I looked up at my older brother and smiled. This was one of many epic parties I had attended, hosted by Nate himself. It was my first party in a long time but it was important to Nate that we be here seeing as we were the guests of honor. It was more of a going-away party than a random Friday night rager.
My attention was drawn back to him as I heard my name.
“Adelyn, you’re one of the coolest chicks I know and the only person I can’t beat in beer pong-” there was a chorus of laughter, mine included.
“And Alex, we’ve been bros since second grade, maybe not through blood but through whiskey and heartbreak. This shot is for you brother!” Nate took his shot and I raised my red solo cup as everyone else did, cheers and whistles were heard, the music eventually getting turned back up. Nate wasn’t too in touch with his emotions but ever since he and Jade became a thing, which took a lot longer than it should have, he’s been more open about his feelings, he’s working on it.
“That was so mushy bro.” Alex teased Nate as they bro-hugged, I smiled and hugged Jade, as I pulled away I was pulled into another hug, this time by Eli.
“A moving sentiment.” Eli clinked his beer with the one that replaced Nate’s empty shot glass. I pulled away from our hug and took a sip from my drink “That was sweet Nate.” I smiled, savoring the taste of fruit and alcohol that lingered behind.
“Yeah yeah, whatever.” he brushed it off but a small grin lay on his lips as he tried to play it off like I said he’s working on it. Eli and Alex, of course, teased him but were quickly shut up when Jade said something to Nate along the lines of. ‘a guy who is in touch with his emotions is such a turn on.’ I couldn’t help but gape at Jade as she twirled her violet curls, she was the DD so she didn’t have anything to drink which made me wonder how she had mustered the courage to say that in front of the guys, I’d need a good three shots before saying something like that.
“So how much longer you guys gonna stay, wouldn’t want to miss your curfew.” Eli joked, giving my shoulders a squeeze as we tried to ignore the sexual tension Jade had just created between her and Nate.
“Haha, very funny,” I said sarcastically, though he probably couldn’t hear me over the music seeing as the bass became increasingly louder, so as any mature adult would; I stuck my tongue out at him, which he returns. I rolled my eyes but smiled as I left him to get another drink and to get away from the heat.
The only quiet room was the kitchen, seeing as you had to pass through a dining room that had a door to get to it. I sighed as I sifted through a cooler, the cold water from the almost fully melted ice making me feel refreshed already. As I finally dug up all the gross diet sodas, I saw the shiny maroon can and white font of my preferred drink.
“Found you.” A can of Dr. Pepper sat at the bottom but before I could grab it, someone else plucked it from the cooler and opened it.
“My favorite.” he sighed, I glared daggers at him before I continued to look through the coolers.
“C’mon babe, you still mad at me?”
“Yes and don’t call me babe.”
“I’ll let that one slide because I know you’re mad... you’ve had your little break, it’s been months.”
“It’s not a break, I’m done with you for good.”
He set down the soda and grabbed my wrist, “Adelyn.”
The feeling of his strong hand grabbing my wrist instantly bringing back memories I was desperately trying to forget.
I tried pulled away from him but he yanked me closer, grabbing my upper arms so that I was forced to look at him, my eyes traveled from his eyes to his lips, the lips that told me pretty lies and ugly truths.
I couldn’t help but become nervous as I felt his body heat for the first time in a while. I instantly became rigid, any sign of moving away vanishing into thin air.
“Listen to me, I’m sorry... I-” he sighed, resting his forehead against mine, his eyes closed as he rubbed my arms in a comforting manner, which only made me shiver in nervousness.
“I’m sorry, okay? I know that what I did was wrong, I was drunk and I didn’t know what I was doing.” He said trying to justify his actions.
“You always say that!” I finally snapped, pushing him away. He always managed to make things my fault and make himself the victim when I was the one who suffered.
“Saying sorry so much eventually makes the word meaningless,” I said, shaking my head as I looked away from him. I pushed past him, out the kitchen and towards the dining room door, before I could push it open, he stopped me again.
“I love you Adelyn, I know I’ve hurt you but I didn’t mean to,” he grabbed my hand and pulled me away from the door; his other hand stroked my cheek softly.
“You don’t hurt someone you love,” I whispered, roughly wiping the tears from my cheeks with the back of my hands.
“I’m leaving, and I’m never coming back,” I said looking up at him with seriousness.
He frowned, pulling me into his chest before kissing me.
I gasped in shock, which he took as an invitation, he tasted like alcohol, something I had acquired a taste for after so long. My eyes closed against my will, I wanted to push him away but I couldn’t, every time I let him control me it gave him a high, it only fueled him.
I finally pushed him away, “Let’s go, let’s leave babe...So we can talk about this.” He suggested.
“There’s nothing to talk about Dylan.”
“Come on.” he pulled me towards the kitchen, motioning towards a door that leads outside.
“No Dylan, you’ve had too much to drink, stop.”
“Babe let’s go, come on.”
“Stop it! You’re hurting me!“.
Suddenly I was pulled out of his grip by who I came to realize was Eli. He punched Dylan square in the jaw leaving a red mark and drawing blood from his bottom lip.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Eli yelled, Dylan wiped the blood from his lip before throwing a punch at Eli.
“Stop it, both of you!” they continued to hit each other.
“Dylan Stop!” he had gotten the upper hand.
“Stop it you’re hurting him!” I did the only thing I could think of, I ran out into the party and searched for Alex and Nate.
They were doing shots close by the kitchen, I grabbed Alex
“Eli got into a fight!” I yelled over the music, he pulled Nate behind him and we went into the kitchen. “Alright ladies, you’re both homecoming queen break it up.” Nate mocked as he grabbed Eli, Alex grabbing Dylan and pulling them apart.
Jade had found her way over to us, she hugged me tightly.
“Get her out of here Jade.” Alex tossing her his keys
“Let’s get you out of here.” She said softly, Alex roughly shoving Dylan against the wall as he kept him as far away from me, my eyes met his pleading ones, “Addy, Go.”
My brother says calmly as Jade’s hand patted my back, encouraging my legs to move again as I averted my eyes from Dylan. We walked outside onto the back patio and around the house to Alex’s car.
“Are you okay?” she whispered as she opened the passenger’s side of the car. I sat down and nodded, she sighed and pulled Nate’s jacket around me.
“Let’s get you home.”
We drove for a while until we made it to my house.
I sat with Jade in the kitchen, sipping on the tea she had made me. My fingers tapped against the mug as I waited for my brother to come home.
“Are you okay?” Her soft voice brought me out of my thoughts, I looked at her and nodded a few stray tears opposing my words. She hugged me and I sunk against her shoulder as she raked her fingers through my hair calming. I rested my head on her lap as she continued, much like my mom did when I was little and I’d get worked up over nothing.
A few minutes passed and I heard the door unlock, me and Jade stood up immediately and went to the living room. Nate walked in and hugged Jade, Alex followed behind and finally Eli.
He held a rag which I assumed was full of ice to his left eye. “You’re such an idiot...” I whispered as I hugged him tightly.
“Just a simple thanks would have been fine.” he sighed I pulled away from him and moved his hand so I could look at his face, ” How bad is it? Am I still beautiful?” he joked. I couldn’t help but smile even though I had been worried sick only moments before.
“Let’s get you cleaned up...”
Eli sat on the bathroom sink as I cleaned the cuts on his face. Each one picking away at the innocence his features once held. Sure he was no saint but his warm eyes and friendly smile always radiated joy. Now, the right side of his jaw was bruised, a cut on his eyebrow and a cut on the bridge of his nose. Most of the blows to his upper body.
“You shouldn’t have Eli...” I sighed as I cleaned the last cut, throwing away the used gauze before smearing the cuts with an antibiotic ointment.
“I wasn’t about to let that idiot have his way with you Adelyn.” He replied, his tone defensive and almost angry, though I could tell his anger wasn’t towards me.
“I know, but you got hurt..” I couldn’t help but let my guilt lace through my words.
“You’re my best friend Adelyn, I’d do anything for you... anything,” he pulled me into him as he hugged me, I tried to pull away as he groaned but he mumbled a simple ‘I’m fine’, I returned the hug, not wanting him to strain himself any further.
We had all eventually settled down and decided to just have a quiet movie night to distract ourselves from the slight bump in our fun night. We sat in the living room and watched movies as we scarfed down the second box of pizza, there was a knock at the door.
“Did any of you guys order another pizza?” I asked confused, there were still another two in the kitchen.
“Yeah, I did...Why don’t you go get it?” Alex suggested, sounding a bit off.
“Okay...” I agreed, ignoring my brother’s weirdness, I got up and walked down the hallway to the front door, I opened it but it wasn’t the pizza delivery guy.
“Reid?” I asked, shocked.
He smiled, “Hey Addy.” I basically jumped into his arms, smiling like a mad woman as he twirled me around, my feet eventually meeting the ground once his muscular arms released me.
“What are you doing here?” I still couldn’t believe he was right in front of me.
“Heard you were moving to Portland, just thought I’d stop by to give you the grand tour once we arrived.” He explained,
“How did you know I was moving?”
“Your brother.” his voice was smooth and mature, I let Reid inside, still shocked an a bit mad that it took him so long to come back. Once the shock had passed I called everyone over, everybody greeted him; everyone except Eli, they had never met.
“Eli, this is our friend Reid...he moved away a few weeks before you moved here,” I explained.
Eli nodded and seemed to want to say something, but Alex cut him off, slapping him on the back, I flinched, mirroring Eli’s pain as he groaned.
“We’re going to leave you two alone to catch up, we’ll be in the game room.” Alex smiled, Eli looked at me over his shoulder before reluctantly leaving with the guys and Jade.
I turned my attention back over at Reid, “You hungry? We have pizza?” I asked him, not sounding like myself.
“Sure.” He smiled.
It was as if I were meeting someone new, though I knew Reid like I know my own reflection.
I and Reid were inseparable when we were younger, but he moved away when I was thirteen and I hadn’t heard much from him since, only an occasional birthday or Christmas card.
We went into the kitchen, I handed him a drink as we sat at the kitchen isle.
I looked at him, really looked at him. His dark, once shaggy hair was shorter and well kept, his slim figure replaced by a taller muscular physique. His eyes were the same, no longer hidden behind glasses, but his face was more chiseled and angular, a new scar ran through his left eyebrow.
My hand reached for the necklace around my neck, I smiled to myself.
*four years ago*
“Why, why do you have to go? ” I sniffled, wiping a stray tear from cheek and neck. “I’m sorry Adelyn... my dad got a new job in Oregon...” I was thirteen at the time and didn’t quite understand why he had to leave.
“You’re my best friend, I’m gonna miss you,” Reid said trying to comfort me. He gave me a hug and pulled away before reaching into in his pocket and lifting it up as if to display it. I touched the rock softly, a rock we had found by a lake, it was shaped like a heart.
He had turned it into a necklace, “It’s for you so that you don’t forget me.” he smiled as he clasped it around my neck.
“I’ll never take it off.”
“I promise.” I hugged him tightly as he twirled me in a circle returning the hug.
-end of flashback-
“Take a picture Addy, it’ll last longer.” he chuckled, breaking me out of my trance. I smiled, shaking my head.
“I was just thinking about the day you gave me this.” I held the chain of the necklace up for him to see.
“Looks like you kept your promise...”
2539 word count
Song for this chapter: ′IDFC′ by Blackbear